In the present study, we propose a theoretical graph procedure to investigate multiple pathways in brain functional networks. By taking into account all the possible paths consisting of h links between the nodes pairs of the network, we measured the global network redundancy R h as the number of parallel paths and the global network permeability P h as the probability to get connected. We used this procedure to investigate the structural and dynamical changes in the cortical networks estimated from a dataset of high-resolution EEG signals in a group of spinal cord injured (SCI) patients during the attempt of foot movement. In the light of a statistical contrast with a healthy population, the permeability index P h of the SCI networks increased significantly (P <0.01) in the Theta frequency band (3-6 Hz) for distances h ranging from 2 to 4. On the contrary, no significant differences were found between the two populations for the redundancy index R h. The most significant changes in the brain functional network of SCI patients occurred mainly in the lower spectral contents. These changes were related to an improved propagation of communication between the closest cortical areas rather than to a different level of redundancy. This evidence strengthens the hypothesis of the need for a higher functional interaction among the closest ROIs as a mechanism to compensate the lack of feedback from the peripheral nerves to the sensomotor areas.
- Cortical networks
- Graph theory
- Spinal cord injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology